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United States Slips on List of World’s Most Powerful Supercomputers

A list of the world's most powerful supercomputers has been refreshed and, well, the United States crashed its way out of the top three.

For the second time in 24 years, the United States does not have any supercomputers in the coveted top three spots, according to Top500, which published its 49th semi-annual ranking of the world's most powerful computers.

Image: The Swiss supercomputer located at the Swiss National Supercomputer Centre in Lugano.
The Swiss supercomputer located at the Swiss National Supercomputer Centre in Lugano. Swiss National Supercomputer Centre

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China holds the top two spots. The world's most powerful computer, the Sunway TaihuLight, can perform at a rate of 93 petaflops, nearly three times as much as the computer in the No. 2 spot.

Just how fast are these computers crunching numbers? Well, try to wrap your head around this: One petaflop equals around one quadrillion calculations per second.

Switzerland's Piz Daint (yes, these computers have names), climbed to the No. 3 spot thanks to an upgrade that took it from 9.8 petaflops to 19.6 petaflops.

The most powerful computer in the United States, Titan, now holds the No. 4 spot. The computer, which is installed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, clocks in with 17.6 petaflops. That number hasn't changed since it was installed in 2012, according to Top500.

While it may seem like it's time to "Make America Great Again" with supercomputers, the United States still dominates the list in another way.

Five of the top 10 super computers making the list are housed in the United States.